Ivy (Hedera helix)

Ivy has a big place in the cult practice of the Bulgarians. It symbolizes health and longevity and is especially healing when growing in churches and monasteries.
As a medicinal plant, the decoction of its leaves and twigs is drunk, and in rheumatism and others. similar ones impose them on the sick place. A man and a woman drink ivy tea in childlessness. In epidemic diseases, ivy is worn as an amulet – small twigs are made of twigs, which are worn on the chest, placed on the doors of the home and barn.
As a symbol of longevity, his leaves decorate the wedding banner in southwestern Bulgaria and the mumblebug, knitting the bride’s wreath. They also make a wreath of ivy and nettles, through which St. George’s milk is pumped and locked with an anti-magic padlock. According to his papers, they envision the health and life of Christmas Eve, Eno day, or Jordan Day.

The ivy is also involved in the funeral rite. When visiting a grave, an ivy wrist is left at the head, and at changes in the wheat. According to the people, ivy is one of the plants cursed by the Holy Virgin, so there is no fruit to eat.

In a residential district of the Pirin region, ivy is considered a “Jewish plant.” This is especially observed when picking the bride’s wreath or the “wedding flag” frog. In Varna, Babinden’s grandmother puts an ivy wreath on her head. Katsarov cites Perdrize’s opinion. Dionysus (Sabazios), originally a god of vegetation, ivy – his sacred plant and probably totem of some Thracian tribes.

Indeed, ivy is a persistent and permanent attribute of Dionysus, called KIGGOC; koaoaras. By order of Dionysus, the ivy wraps around the camps and chairs where Minnie’s daughters sat, who refused to celebrate his feast.
Insane, they put ivy wreaths on their heads and join the celebrating women. Also, by order of the ivy god, he wraps the ship of pirates.

Ivy decorates the cradle of baby Dionysus. In the legend of Semela’s death, ivy to some extent saves Dionysus.
The ivy is also a plant of the Dionysus Formation. The Bacchae have an ivy crown similar to the maenads, satyrs, and pan. Menadas, who are nymphs, nurses of Dionysus, also wear an ivy wreath. They are thought to be a storm, and they revive grasses and trees. Undoubtedly in the concept of ivy in Southwestern Ball

Garius left a mark on the cult of Dionysus, and in particular his connection with the nymphs. Ivy can be seen as a classifier, being the first member of the life-to-death opposition. It symbolizes immortality. Therefore, it is also an attribute of Dionysus and other deities of vegetation, of dying and resurrecting deities like Attis.

He is also seen as an attribute of Artemis as a donor of immortality. In dedication
by Philippi Artemis holds an ivy branch in his left hand.

Mistletoe (Viscum album)

Beliefs related to mistletoe are too fragmentary and not common
everywhere. Generally, this plant is also considered Jewish, and when harvested, is left behind
thread or coin.
The mistletoe is considered to be a samodiv tree. They don’t bring him home in Panagyurishte. In Karnobatsky, birds are believed to be grafting it on trees. A home that has mistletoe is considered happy. If two young people are under a mistletoe tree, any freedom is allowed. He is believed to be curative.
It is considered a sacred plant since ancient times, probably because of its ability to plant itself and live wrapped in other trees. His cult, however, received the greatest development among Germans and Celtics.

Balder, the solar hero, dies of a mistletoe branch released by Hoder on Loki’s suggestion. For the Germans, this plant symbolizes death
and the winter stiffness of nature, and for the Celts it is a symbol of the rebirth of the extinct solar power. As the epithet gr. \ T, oq mistletoe is present in some solar deities, such as Zeus, Apollo Ixios.
It is regarded as non-extinct, non-fading because it grows without earth roots and remains
green when the oak is bare, symbolizing immortality. It is also a symbol of fertility and takes place in the Christmas holidays ( see article about Christmas).


In common practice and belief, the apple occupies a large place. When there are two
like, they exchange an apple – the biggest sign of love. This is the meaning of her wedding customs: the newlyweds eat an apple to have children. It decorates the wedding banner and the godfather tree. With apple they are crushed for a wedding. The apple replaces the bride’s shirt after the first wedding night: when the bride is honest, they show an apple instead of the shirt.
The wedding guests leave money on this apple.

The apple semantically connects with the world of the dead and therefore plays a role in the funeral ritual as a mediator between the two worlds. One of the most common beliefs is that Archangel Michael takes the soul with the apple. Also, in a special bag, apples are placed next to the dead, which he can bring to his previously deceased relatives. A whole small tree is cut into the grave instead of a cross instead of a cross
from the root itself. Its branches are pointed at the top and put on one “gilded” apple. This tree can be nothing but an apple. It goes along with the soul and helps along the way. because the tree cannot enter.


In Bulgarian folk culture interesting ideas and customs are found in connection with other plants and trees.. Beech is thouth to be a sacred tree and on in it samodivi live. It is not burned, it is not worn at home, it is “samodivsky.” If put on a car, it is believed that it will break.


According to popular belief, elm chases bad forces. When they enclose a new threshing floor, the fence is elm – then no more evil comes in. Most of the vines are elm trees. You can sleep under it because there are no bad breaths.
The leaves of clear cure snake bites. In Christmas songs he is a paradise tree.
Brides and girls wear mares of the clear, because they run away from selfies and dragons.


The maple is a “wonderful tree” in the folk songs, under whose shadow stands St. Nicholas, and St. Sunday awakens him. From it is made shepard’s whistle, the wedding cup with which the godfather soldered the newlyweds, the bucket with which the bride will bring water. Only he can keep the bride and the girl from snakes and scams. According to some beliefs below it can be
sleeps without fear and a meal can be made. According to others, reflected in the songs, for example, it is advised not to go past the maple, because my Tuva has seven cradles, they bind you to me.
In a dry sycamore tree, Gurgya locks up 70 springs.


The oak is also considered a sacred tree. On Christmas Eve the stump is made of oak. The entrant enters Ignatius with a stick or oak shumka. The bat with which they wash and cuddle is oak, as is often the rock. The vines are also oak trees. Where there were no churches, people prayed at the oaks. There are in the village of Lokorsko (Sofia)
or three old oaks, where liturgy had once been served, and the kurbans (kurban – animal sacrifice) were made. On St. A trinity of icons roamed the entire birch grove, stopping at these oaks and smelling them (twisting a hole in the drill and pouring olive oil into it, putting incense on it and clogging it with wax). who kept the land from the city and the halls.

Walnut Tree

Walnut with
according to popular views there is a connection with the life of man. In the morning at St. George’s Day the doors are decorated with walnut leaves, the sheep are brought out with a walnut branch. Because the walnut noise chases snakes and ammunition, on Rusal Sunday, every girl and bride puts walnut leaves and wormwood in her bosom.

On Duhovden the worshipers, in order to see the dead, put a walnut noise under their feet, which they then take home. Here again the tree is the mediator between the two worlds.



Source: “Bulgarian Folk Culture”, Ivanichka Georgieva